International Center of Photography Announces Opening Date

Executive director Mark Lubell revealed the date at the ICP Infinity Awards.

250 Bowery, the home of the new International Center of Photography.
Photo: Doug Elliman Real Estate.

Mark your calendars: New York’s International Center of Photography (ICP) will reopen on Thursday, June 23.

The museum’s executive director, Mark Lubell, stole the show at the ICP Infinity Awards on April 11; on stage, he paused for dramatic effect before revealing the date and telling hundreds of attendees “I’m inviting all of you” to the official unveiling.

“Images are so fundamental to all of our communication,” Lubell told artnet News. “I think of ICP as a place the public can discuss the issues of the day.”

The inaugural exhibition in the new facility at 250 Bowery will be organized by curator in residence Charlotte Cotton, who previously held positions at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography at LACMA.

The International Center of Photography's former building. Photo: Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons

The International Center of Photography’s former building.
Photo: Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons

One theme during the awards dinner was the changing nature of photography in a world where the front page of the newspaper is no longer dictating what pictures dominate the public discourse. Lubell hopes future exhibitions can draw on the long history of photography to help viewers understand the medium as it exists today and the role it will play as we move forward.

The museum, which was formerly located at 1155 Avenue of the Americas, a building owned by the Durst Organization, has been closed since January 2015. The space went out with a bang with “Genesis,” an exhibition of Sebastião Salgado‘s stunning environmental photographs, and has been holding itinerant exhibitions while awaiting the completion of the new facility.

(In a strange coincidence, the Infinity Awards took place the same day that piano-manufacturers Steinway & Sons opened its new flagship in the museum’s old digs.)

If it seemed like a long wait for a new ICP, it’s been an even more delayed journey for the 250 Bowery building. Before the recession, the lot was going to be a luxury hotel with condos, but by 2009 the project was mired in a foreclosure lawsuit.

Rendering for Essex Crossing, a development on six acres of vacant land on New York's Lower East Side that will house the second branch of the Andy Warhol Museum. Photo: Delancey Street Associates / SHoP Architects.

Rendering for Essex Crossing, a development on six acres of vacant land on New York’s Lower East Side. Photo: Delancey Street Associates/SHoP Architects.

In addition to the ICP, the building now has condos on the upper floors, with the New York Daily News reporting in 2014 that Scarlett Johansson and Paul Simon were among prospective tenants.

As photography lovers look forward to a new ICP, it’s worth noting that the institution’s days at the Bowery space may already be numbered. In January, during a public meeting about the development of Essex Crossing on the Lower East Side, a construction representative let slip that ICP was one of three planned tenants for the SHoP Architects-designed complex.

A screenshot of the ICP website.

A screenshot of the ICP website.

On the ICP website, the page for future programming shows a photo of a construction site and refers vaguely to “opening exhibitions” with the dates June 15, 2016–April 1, 2020.

Whatever the future holds for ICP, for now, the focus is firmly on their current space. “I think it’s the right place, the right time, and I cannot wait to open,” said Lubell. “It’s going to be an incredible chapter in ICP’s history.”

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